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“Flagship” electrical vehicle charging site proposed for Red Deer County

Airdrie-based ION Charge Corp. hopes to create North America-wide network of charging stations
Alberta-based Ion is proposing to build an electric vehicle charging station and a two-megawatt solar power farm in Red Deer County east of Penhold near Junction 42 truck stop. (Graphic contributed)

An Airdrie-based company hopes to build a flagship solar power electric vehicle charging station in Red Deer County that could eventually be part of a North America-wide network.

ION Charge Corp. executives were in front of county council on Tuesday to describe what they hope to do on a 20-acre site just south of the Junction 42 truck stop at Highways 2 and 42 east of Penhold. They propose to build a six-vehicle ultra-fast charging station powered by an adjacent two-megawatt, 3,500-panel solar farm on 5.6 acres.

“This will be our flagship site and our test bed to prove the viability of our concept should we reach full permitting,” said Scott Clark, senior vice-president land for Ion Charge Corp.

If all of the necessary county and provincial permits are approved, the project which would cost $5-10 million depending on final size could be shovel-ready by fall 2023, said Clark.

“We’ll also be building one between Dallas-Forth Worth and Houston simultaneously as we have plans to take this corporation international.

“Our five-year plan is to have roughly 100 to 125 of these sites in Canada and the U.S,” he said. “Our plans are still in development but it is our long-term goal to ensure that any traveller in North America can comfortably travel in their electric vehicle east, west, north and south without having any range anxiety about where their next green charge is coming from because there will be an ION charging station within range.”

The company estimates that having a charging station available every 200 kilometres will fall within the comfort level for most electric vehicle drivers. It will typically take five to 15 minutes to charge a vehicle.

ION senior vice-president development Ryan Tourigny said the project represents a “sizable investment” and establishes the county as an ultra-fast charging site.

“It really helps to continue the evolution of that highway corridor,” said Tourigny.

ION cleared the first step in the county planning process on Tuesday when council approved an application to change the zoning for the proposed charging facility site to business industrial from agriculture.

While council was supportive of the project, several councillors emphasized that Tuesday’s approval was only a first step and other approvals, including a development permit, would be required before the project could go ahead.

“To take this step forward is not to assume it goes all the way,” said county manager Curtis Herzberg.

Mayor Jim Wood said it was a positive sign that the company saw the county as a good place to invest and believes it reinforces the municipality’s progressive reputation.

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